In 1891 Lieutenant Pershing took up duties as Professor of Military Science and Tactics at the University of Nebraska. It was here, in 1893, that Company A, the special drill team, became the fraternal organization bearing the name Varsity Rifles. In honor of Lieutenant Pershing, the organization changed its name to Pershing Rifles in 1894.
When Pershing left Nebraska in 1895, he at the request of a committee gave the company a pair of his cavalry breeches. These breeches were cut into small pieces and were worn on the uniform as a sign of membership. These "ribbons" were the first service ribbons ever worn in the United States.
During the Spanish-American War, 30 members of Pershing Rifles enlisted in the 1st Nebraska Volunteers, commanded by Colonel W.H. Ourv, a former Pershing Rifles Captain. Every one of the 30 distinguished himself in the ensuing battle.
From 1900 to 1911, Pershing Rifles reached the height of its existence prior to World War I. Membership was a great military honor. After 1911, however, the influence of Pershing Rifles in the military department declined. Its activities suddenly seemed to cease and the organization was disbanded and its records burned.
In 1920, Pershing Rifles was again formed. Its growth was as remarkable as its decline. Special drill teams all over the country began to seek admittance into Pershing Rifles.
Ohio State University was the force that recreated the National Honorary Society of Pershing Rifles. In 1922, they formed "The President's Guard" and sought affiliation with Pershing Rifles in 1924. Their new application was approved and dates May 13, 1925. This inaugurated a new policy in Pershing Rifles.
The University of Tennessee was next in 1927 and was designated Company C. In 1928, the National Headquarters was established at the University of Nebraska. Pershing Rifles at Nebraska then even surpassed its Spanish-American War greatness.
Today, Pershing Rifles is still a vital, active national honorary society for outstanding cadets, midshipmen, and civilians. As of spring 1985, there were 112 active units and nine regimental headquarters, with the national headquarters still located at the University of Nebraska.
Wing Walker Honor Guard